Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
David89
Member
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat May 03, 2008 10:53 pm

Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby David89 » Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:52 am

Wouldn't even phosphorus tracers rounds set the fuel on fire? And if not then those tanks are very large and more to the point don't shoot back a while even a near miss with a 1000lb bomb should be enough to blow a hole in the side of a tank, causing fuel to escape and catch fire and I very much doubt the burning fuel could have been extinguished given the facilities availible.

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby lwd » Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:52 pm

Lwd, look at the size of the tanks. They are BIG! I estimate they are about 200 feet in diameter. Do you really think a dive bomber has less than 50% to hit such a big target?

I think any bomber would have less than a 50% hit probability in this tactical situation. The IJN air crews were arguablly the best in the world at that point. .

I found a source:
http://books.google.com/books?id=AAQ-AA ... &ct=result
...JU-87s in a dive could put 25% of their bombs in a 50m diameter circle...

50m isn't far off from the size of those tanks so that puts the PH at 25% before you start taking into account tactical factors

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby lwd » Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:03 pm

David89 wrote:Wouldn't even phosphorus tracers rounds set the fuel on fire?

Possible. If the planes got close enough. Of course this exposes then to a lot of AA fire.
And if not then those tanks are very large and more to the point don't shoot back a while even a near miss with a 1000lb bomb should be enough to blow a hole in the side of a tank,

There's a berm around the tanks. So if the bomb is inside the berm there is a good chance it will hole the tank. That however doesn't mean the oil is lost. If it's on the other side of the berm little or no effect.
causing fuel to escape and catch fire and I very much doubt the burning fuel could have been extinguished given the facilities availible.

What facilities were available? Your post implies significant knowledge in that regard.

A major oil fire would be a problem and if a concerted attack were made on the tanks at least some of them could be expected to burn. The quesiton is how many? Note also that if one starts to burn any addtional bombing in that area is going to face some pretty bad visibility problems. Of course things wouldn't have been good in that regard for a 3rd wave in any case.

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3096
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby dunmunro » Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:22 pm

David89 wrote:Wouldn't even phosphorus tracers rounds set the fuel on fire?


I think the tanks could have been destroyed by bombing, but bunker fuel is difficult to ignite and must be heated before being burned in a boiler. I doubt that machine gun or cannon fire would have caused the oil to ignite even with tracer rounds.

User avatar
minoru genda
Member
Posts: 131
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:09 am

Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby minoru genda » Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:20 am

lwd wrote:
...JU-87s in a dive could put 25% of their bombs in a 50m diameter circle...

50m isn't far off from the size of those tanks so that puts the PH at 25% before you start taking into account tactical factors

I thought Stukas had better accuracy. German ace Hans-Ulrich Rudel must have been very lucky then to sink the Russian battleship Marat with a single 1,000 kg bomb (PH: 100%).
Tora! Tora! Tora!

Bgile
Senior Member
Posts: 3658
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Portland, OR, USA

Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby Bgile » Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:55 am

How many stukas attacked the Marat, and how many got hits?

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby lwd » Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:48 pm

Rudel was also very good. If you cold clone him and man a squadron with him then you could expect better accuracy.

Rudel does illustrate a somewhat off topic difference between the two theaters as well. If he had been in the Pacific he would not have achieved near the numbers he did. Not only would he have flown fewer missions but walking back through enemy lines was a lot harder in the Pacific.

User avatar
minoru genda
Member
Posts: 131
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:09 am

Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby minoru genda » Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:01 am

If you guys were Nagumo would you launch a third strike? or... Do you agree with his decision to return to Japan after the strike of the second wave? I think now that attacking Pearl Harbor facilites wont change much even if half the oil tanks are destroyed but I still think that a third strike against the warships (including the Enterprise maybe) was worth trying.
Tora! Tora! Tora!

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3096
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby dunmunro » Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:59 am

minoru genda wrote:If you guys were Nagumo would you launch a third strike? or... Do you agree with his decision to return to Japan after the strike of the second wave? I think now that attacking Pearl Harbor facilites wont change much even if half the oil tanks are destroyed but I still think that a third strike against the warships (including the Enterprise maybe) was worth trying.


Since this was (although maybe not completely apparent at the time) the IJN's one and only chance to strike at PH, then I think they should have tried to inflict maximum damage through a 3rd strike. This may have led to a carrier versus carrier battle between Nagumo's carriers and one or more USN carrier, but I'm not sure to what degree Nagumo considered this to be a possibility, and to what degree he would have planned for a CAP and a retaliatory strike if the USN carrier(s) were located after the 3rd PH strike force was enroute.

User avatar
Karl Heidenreich
Senior Member
Posts: 4808
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Contact:

Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:43 am

Seriously, what would a third wave changed something?
But that´s rethorical because we can question this from hindsight now. Nagumo didn´t and couldn´t.

Historically, and because of Fuchida, most (or all) of Nagumo´s decisions have fallen into severe criticism (and Yamamoto stay´s for the West as a strategic genius whislt he managed to lose all of the most important combats in which he was involved) being one that he didn´t sent a third wave to Pearl. But who are the ones that supported this third wave theory? Well, Genda and Fuchida. Why? Because that´s what they´ll wanted to do, despite that an important fact is being missed:
The USN aircraft carriers were Kido Butai´s the main target; all the japanese´s plan programming aimed at that. In the spirit of Yamamoto´s wisdom the CVs were THE target. And the USN CVs were not in harbor! So, what´s the point of putting the fleet at risk for attacking a base in which there there is no sign of the most important enemy assets? Ah?
Nobody tries to image Nagumo on the crammed bridge of Akagi, full of sailors, officers, flight officers, flag signal personel, noise, pressure, in the middle of the ocean (hostile waters also) with his country´s only asset that could give to it the victory and (if lost) send it to utter defeat, and then cames the report from the attackers that the only REAL important targets are not to be found where the super plan considered they MUST be! Nagumo had the full responsability, not Yamamoto who was safe at Japan´s home waters drinking tea and playing with a map at the flagship´s officers mess.
He (Nagumo) took the right decision of withdrawing ASAP. Maybe those missing enemy CVs were right on his back or his flank preparing an ambush (as happened in Midway, the other proof of Yamamoto ill designed operations). He was considering that. He had that pressure. He wasn´t thinking how lovely some fuel tanks could burn.
A third wave could have won nothing more and would have put the whole Kido Butai at risk for critical 4-6 hours prior to a withdrawal. Let´s remember Midway, it was during the main attack and because of the recovery of those planes involved and the CAP flight operations that the Japanese were unable to defend properly themselves of the heroic and effective (but ill coordinated) American air strikes that finally casted doom over them...
No. The answer is no, despite the Fuchida Version of History.

Best regards.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
Sir Winston Churchill

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby lwd » Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:59 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:...The USN aircraft carriers were Kido Butai´s the main target; all the japanese´s plan programming aimed at that. ....

dunmunro wrote:
minoru genda wrote:If you guys were Nagumo would you launch a third strike? or... Do you agree with his decision to return to Japan after the strike of the second wave? ....


Since this was (although maybe not completely apparent at the time) the IJN's one and only chance to strike at PH, then I think they should have tried to inflict maximum damage through a 3rd strike....


I think both of these responses are somewhat off base. The BBs were listed as the primary target for the attackers. The main target however was US moral. Having sunk or damaged the BBs and had his force almost completely undamaged (as far as the US knew he only lost a very few planes I suspect less than a dozen could be really confirmed and the mini subs). This is an overwhelming victory. If he had stayed around launched a third strike and maybe even sunk a CV the moral effect of this raid would still have been less if he lost a CV or even a bunch of planes in the process. As far as the way the war goes afterwards if the Japanese were to take heavy losses of aircrew the IJN simply wasn't in the process to replace them quickly so any offensive actions to follow would have become problematic.

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3096
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby dunmunro » Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:25 pm

A primary difficulty with trying to answer this question, is the knowledge that Japan had attacked an overwhelming more powerful opponent, and that there's no possible strategy that the IJN could have used to ultimately win. However, if the strategy is to strike at PH to buy time to build up a defensive Island ring around Japan, then it follows that PH needs to be neutralized as a base, to the maximum extent possible. The IJN did have some reserve aircrews in Japan, and since Nagumo is planning to return directly to Japan, he could afford to take some aircraft/aircrew losses (although if they couldn't afford to even do this, it begs lots of addition questions...). If he could have caused damage to the Oil Farm and workshops, it might have had a ripple effect. Yorktown might not have been repaired quickly enough to participate in Midway, for example. Nagumo couldn't know that specifically of course, but he could have anticipated that it would delay the repair of damaged ships from the PH attack and from future encounters. He should have known that the USN was in a transition phase and that his force would be relatively stronger in Dec 1941 versus the USN CV force than it would ever be in the future. He should have stuck around, looked for a fight while he was strong and the enemy was weak.

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby lwd » Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:58 pm

dunmunro wrote:.... The IJN did have some reserve aircrews in Japan, and since Nagumo is planning to return directly to Japan, he could afford to take some aircraft/aircrew losses (although if they couldn't afford to even do this, it begs lots of addition questions...). ....


Not sure how many or how well trained. Remember one of the Japanese Coral Sea CVs didn't make Midway because her air group got shot up to bad there.

lwd
Senior Member
Posts: 3810
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:15 am
Location: Southfield, USA

Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby lwd » Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:05 pm

dunmunro wrote:A primary difficulty with trying to answer this question, is the knowledge that Japan had attacked an overwhelming more powerful opponent, and that there's no possible strategy that the IJN could have used to ultimately win. ...


I won't say that there was none. Indeed they were on the right track to some extent. IE hope to destroy American moral and gain a truce before the full economic strength of the US could be brought to bear. The problem was they achieved just the opposite with the strike on PH. Their planning was severely hampered by not understanding the US well enough. They also believe that their Big Battle plans would give them a chance against the US fleet. And a victory over it might have given them a chance at an all out win. Of course the attack on PH meant that even if the US wanted to cooperate they couldn't.

dunmunro
Senior Member
Posts: 3096
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 1:25 am
Location: Langley BC Canada

Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby dunmunro » Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:53 am

lwd wrote:
dunmunro wrote:.... The IJN did have some reserve aircrews in Japan, and since Nagumo is planning to return directly to Japan, he could afford to take some aircraft/aircrew losses (although if they couldn't afford to even do this, it begs lots of addition questions...). ....


Not sure how many or how well trained. Remember one of the Japanese Coral Sea CVs didn't make Midway because her air group got shot up to bad there.


IIRC, the CV Shokaku was badly damaged and the airgroup, more or less, wiped out.


Return to “Hypothetical Naval Scenarios”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests